The New Jersey Devils played their worst game of the season last night against Montreal. Against Washington on Oct. 9 this year, they took a 2-1 lead against the Caps before falling apart and losing 7-2. Last night, the Devils, falling behind and looking completely disinterested in the game, were dominated by a superior team. The game, in my opinion, revealed the Devils' need to acquire affective playmakers.
Playmakers start rushes and use their passing skills to help a team win. In my opinion, we have "stretches" where we cannot generate anything offensively because, other than Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk (the jury is not yet out on Tedenby), we do not have other "playmakers" on the team that can start effective break outs. We are a team of grinders and power fowards that must dump and chase to set up in the zone. Here is the Devils box score from last night's loss.
|5 C. White||D||0||0||0||-1||2||0||18:25||0:00||0:59||19:24|
|6 A. Greene||D||0||0||0||-1||0||1||16:41||0:27||0:53||18:01|
|7 H. Tallinder||D||0||0||0||-1||0||1||21:33||0:00||2:06||23:39|
|8 D. Zubrus||C||0||1||1||-1||0||0||10:39||1:16||0:00||11:55|
|10 R. Pelley||C||0||0||0||-1||0||3||14:54||0:24||1:58||17:16|
|11 A. Mair||C||0||0||0||0||0||3||12:03||0:24||0:36||13:03|
|12 B. Rolston||L||0||0||0||-3||0||2||12:57||1:00||0:00||13:57|
|14 S. Gionta||R||0||0||0||0||0||3||12:14||0:24||0:33||13:11|
|15 J. Langenbrunner||R||0||0||0||-1||0||0||15:20||2:53||1:58||20:11|
|17 I. Kovalchuk||L||0||0||0||-1||0||2||13:54||3:33||0:00||17:27|
|19 T. Zajac||C||0||0||0||-1||0||2||15:15||2:36||0:25||18:16|
|21 M. Tedenby||R||0||0||0||0||0||5||15:16||1:16||0:00||16:32|
|22 M. Corrente||D||0||0||0||-1||0||0||17:38||0:00||0:00||17:38|
|23 D. Clarkson||R||0||0||0||-3||0||1||13:40||1:00||0:00||14:40|
|25 J. Arnott||C||1||0||1||1||0||1||11:35||2:20||0:00||13:55|
|26 P. Elias||L||0||1||1||1||0||2||11:12||2:20||0:28||14:00|
|28 A. Volchenkov||D||0||0||0||-1||0||0||15:24||0:00||1:07||16:31|
|34 M. Fayne||D||0||0||0||-1||2||2||16:25||0:07||0:53||17:25|
Travis Zajac is the only player worthy of being considered a playmaker besides Elias and Kovy. Well, like our offense, Travis is putrid right now. He is not the same player without Parise.
I believe a team is only as good as its breakout. The way a team breaks out of the zone determines whether you can start odd man rushes that leave your team with desirable scoring chances. The Devils cannot start these rushes because they are terrible passers.
When we play the Flyers tomorrow, regardless of the result, watch how many times the Devils blow a chance in the defensive, neutral, or offensive zone because of poor passing.